Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has named Lionel Messi as being untouchable & non-transferable, even though the media is awash with reports of the greatest goalscorer wanting to leave this summer.
The Nou Camp is in disarray following 8-2 humiliation at the hands of Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter final, with the president having become hugely unpopular amongst the fan base.
But Bartomeu has said that the six time Ballon d’Or winner is going nowhere and listed five other players who won’t be sold.
“Messi is untouchable & non-transferable,” the 57-year-old told a press conference on Tuesday, “He knows it, we all know it.
“But there are various non-transferable players like (Marc Andre) Ter Stegen, (Clement) Lenglet, (Nelson) Semedo, (Frenkie) De Jong, (Antoine) Griezmann, (Ousmane) Dembele… players we are counting on in the future.”
After naming the original six, the club president, whose term will end next March with an election, added youngster Ansu Fati to the list by claiming he’d rejected offers for the young forward. “We have had (offers) for Ansu Fati, for example,” Bartomeu added.
“But Barca does not want to sell players, although we receive several offers for players. We don’t want to sell him. He has a great future. I’m telling you from here, he’s non-transferable.”
In the wake of the loss that process seems to have been sped up but, elaborating on the Argentine’s future, the club president added, “I have spoken with [Ronald] Koeman and the pillar of our project is Messi.
“He has a contract until 2021, I speak a lot with Leo and more regularly with his father. He is number one in the world. There is no doubt that in Koeman’s new project you can count on Messi.”
Koeman’s biggest task might be to try and convince the star forward to stay with the club, although Bartomeu’s replacement might actually have a greater impact on that.